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Prospective Students

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Are you...
  • A talented, high-achieving, and motivated student who is looking to make the most of of your college experience?
  • Interested in putting yourself in the best academic position for a successful career after graduation?
  • Looking for opportunities to cultivate critical thinking and creative expression in a supportive community of like-minded students and faculty?
If so, consider applying to the JMU Honors Program
View this slideshow presentation on why you should join the JMU Honors Program

The Honors Program at JMU is a select academic community that offers admission to talented incoming freshmen, current JMU students, and transfer students. As part of the Honors Program, you'll have access to an enriched curriculum which is characterized by small classes, engagement with faculty, and extraordinary opportunities for research. You'll have the option to participate in an array of special programs outside of the classroom and to live in special, dedicated Honors housing. Through the Honors Program, you'll receive preparation for graduate or professional schools, enhance your opportunities for a rewarding career, and expand your knowledge of yourself, others, and the world. We encourage you to learn more about the Honors experience at JMU!


Enriched Curriculum

The Honors curriculum is characterized by small classes, committed faculty, and meaningful participation by students in the learning process. With an average size of just 20 students, Honors classes encourage faculty and students to explore an issue more deeply and to engage in creative learning and intellectual dialogue. Honors courses do not require more work than normal classes. Instead, they require a different kind of work, one that emphasizes discussion and persuasive argumentation and challenges students to engage in deep, rigorous, and creative thinking.

The requirements of the Honors Program are flexible, allowing students the freedom to shape their own curriculum to fit their needs and interests. Most Honors courses also satisfy other university or major requirements. The Areas of Emphasis provide opportunities for students to push their education beyond the classroom, developing real-world strengths in leadership, global studies, service, or research. 


Faculty Mentorship

The scholarly relationship between student and professor sits at the heart of the Honors experience. Through small classes, individualized study, and independent research, Honors students have unparalleled access to exceptional faculty from across the university. The Senior Honors Project provides the framework for close, sustained collaboration with a faculty mentor. Intellectual exchange and professional mentorship are the hallmarks of this relationship. These faculty members encourage a spirit of inquiry in their students, are thoughtful teachers, and exhibit the strongest desire to train a new generation of thinkers and creators. These contacts often prove immensely valuable during the transition to graduate school or the career marketplace. Indeed, for many Honors students the opportunity to forge these professional relationships stands as the most impactful and rewarding aspect of their college careers.


Research Opportunities

Scholarly research is a fundamental component of an Honors education. Undergraduate research at JMU takes many forms: scientists working in a lab; scholarly investigations in the humanities and social sciences; business plans and website design; photo essays, art exhibits, and musical recitals. Regardless of type, undergraduate research increases depth of knowledge, strengthens critical thinking and writing ability, and develops long-range planning and project management skills.

All students in Honors are expected to conduct scholarly research in their major or a related field. The Senior Honors Project, the capstone Honors requirement, is a three-semester mentored research experience which culminates in a substantial written thesis or creative work. Students have additional opportunities to pursue research through an Area of Emphasis or through Honors coursework. The Hillcrest Scholarships provide financial support for exceptional summer research projects. 

study abroad

Study Abroad & Scholarships

The Honors Program offers exceptional study abroad opportunities which are designed exclusively for JMU Honors students. Honors Seminars Abroad allow students to explore a new and exciting part of the world for three weeks in May while earning six academic credits and fulfilling Honors requirements. Current and upcoming destinations include London, Florence, Barcelona, and South Africa. JMU study abroad programs in Oxford, Cambridge, and St. Andrews afford additional opportunities to earn Honors credits abroad, and we encourage our students to explore the numerous other study abroad programs offered through the university.

Honors students are eligible for scholarship money from the Honors Program to support Honors study abroad and, through the Hillcrest Scholarships, up to $5,000 to support an exceptional, off-campus experience in the summer following the junior year. In addition, the Honors Program office coordinates university applications for nationally competitive scholarships, working closely with students throughout the application process. Recent scholarships awarded to Honors students include the Fulbright, Goldwater, and Boren scholarships, among others. While the Honors Program does not offer its own scholarships to entering students, many incoming Honors students receive four-year, merit-based scholarships offered by the university or need-based awards provided through the university's financial aid office


The Honors Experience

The Honors Program is more than just academics--it's an experience that begins from your first day on campus and continues beyond graduation. By networking through Honors student organizations, socializing and studying in the Honors Lounge, and living in Honors housing, Honors students at JMU develop close bonds as members of a unique community of scholars. Interesting and fun events bring Honors students together on campus. Leadership experiences and service opportunities engage students with the local community and the wider world. For many students, the Honors experience lasts beyond their four years on campus, as former students become actively engaged Honors alumni.

Being in the Honors Program affords you a number of unique benefits, including:

  • Priority registration privileges, so you can get the best classes at the times you want them
  • Honors recognition on your transcript and diploma 
  • The opportunity to live with other Honors students in Shenandoah Hall, the Honors dorm
  • Access to the Hillcrest House facilities, which provide Honors students a comfortable student lounge, study areas, and a computer lab
  • The Honors Academic Advisor, who is there to help you make the most your college experience

Interesting in learning about how to apply? 

Follow the links for high school students, current JMU students, or transfer students.